Iris Automation begins program to accelerate drone BVLOS

17 February 2021
The BVLOS project Canada Pathfinder Program will include flight training and getting easier access to regulatory approvals. Source: Iris Automation

Iris Automation has launched a new unmanned aerial systems (UAS) program to accelerate the steps needed to achieve beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS).

The Canada Pathfinder Program will include flight training, assistance in acquiring BVLOS approvals, a BVLOS safety system, engineering and regulatory support, and test center access.

Iris Automation is partnering with Foremost UAS Test Range in Alberta, Canada, and UAS Center of Excellence (CED) in Alma, Quebec, which will help develop remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) test facilities for support, training and proving BVLOS flights.

The program is designed to provide baseline of pre-requisites needed for achieving BVLOS advanced operations approvals in Canada. The program will also expedite issuance of TC special flight operations certificate (SFOC) for BVLOS flights within test centers, team training and standard procedures on how to perform safe BVLOS operations and BVLOS flight experience needed to apply for subsequent SFOC approvals.

Iris Automation is already participating in the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) BEYOND program to advance more complex UAS operations BVLOS in the U.S. National Airspace System.

BVLOS allows drone operators to conduct complex drone operations where the device flies beyond a point where the operator can see it. This could be through a camera attached to the drone or for autonomous flight operations without a pilot. The technology is seen as the next step toward enabling drone deliveries to go beyond just local areas. Drones with BVLOS capabilities could be used to deliver goods to remote areas that do not have access to medical supplies or groceries. They could also be used to help emergency services get supplies to help people in the case of a natural disaster or major accidents.

There are a number of projects that have cropped up exploring BVLOS including one in the U.K. with ANRA, F-drone tests involving maritime deliveries at night and recent moves by the FAA to promote BVLOS technology.

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